A DELEGATION of 50 Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) members were in Canberra last week to meet with many of the nation’s senior leaders and opinion formers.
AUJS’ Political Training Seminar (PTS), which aims to develop students’ political knowledge and skills, saw delegates meet with more than 30 politicians, journalists, lobbyists, public servants and ambassadors.
Issues addressed included foreign affairs, defence, security, multiculturalism, national identity, the economy, trade, marriage equality, anti-Semitism and racism.
Among the speakers were senior members of the government Christopher Pyne, Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Labor frontbenchers Mark Dreyfus, Anthony Albanese and Stephen Conroy, as well as Greens leader Richard Di Natale, MP Michael Danby, Sky News political editor David Speers and Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs.
“AUJS PTS provides an unrivalled opportunity for Jewish students to engage with the political process and learn about a wide range of issues from those who make the decisions,” said AUJS national political director and conference organiser Julian Kowal.
“It is a testament to the immense respect our nation’s senior leaders have for AUJS and the Jewish community, given that no other comparable conference exists for any other student group in Australia.”
Kowal said PTS also offers “an opportunity for our voice as Jewish students to be heard” by senior politicians from across the political spectrum, which is of the “utmost importance to the ongoing welfare of our members, given the worsening situation on campus”.
“Many of the speakers spoke of the importance of the Jewish community’s active engagement in politics, encouraging the participants to join a political party and make a difference to how our community’s interests are represented,” he said.